FILIPINO SKATER MICHAEL MARTINEZ MAKES IT FROM MALL TO OLYMPICS

FEBRUARY 14 -Youngest skater in Sochio, in a sequined and braided black and white outfit donated by a designer in New York who saw his Facebook plea for proper Olympic attire, Martinez took the biggest stage of his life, skating just two spots before the great Evgeni Plushenko was supposed to go in front of a capacity crowd at the Olympic arena. Olympic debut: He began his skate by hitting a nice triple axel, drawing applause from the crowd. But on his second jump he didn’t finish the rotation on a triple lutz and triple toe loop, lowering his marks from the  judges.But his spins were good, the rest of the program nicely skated. Most importantly, he didn’t look like a 17-year-old making his Olympic debut.
In 2 minutes and 39 seconds, Martinez showed he belonged. And now all there was to do was to wait.
“I’m very happy and proud,” he said. “I missed just one jump but the rest of the program was good.”
In the kiss-and-cry area, Martinez waved his jacket with “Philippines” on the back to the crowd, drawing cheers.
He sat with the Russian coach his mother — who learned skating along with her son so she could save money by coaching him herself — had hired for him, flashing a thumbs-up sign as his score was posted.
It was 64.81, his best ever. But Martinez would have to wait again to find out whether it would be good enough to be one of the top 24 skaters who make it to the free skate.

ALSO: Martinez on Sochi performance: 'I missed one jump'

Martinez took the biggest stage of his life, skating just two spots before the great Evgeni Plushenko was supposed to go in front of a capacity crowd at the Olympic arena. Michael Christian Martinez nailed the bow at the end. Four bows, to be exact, though no one could blame him. He didn’t seem to want to leave the ice Thursday night, and no one was going to blame him for that, either. This wasn’t the shopping mall in the Philippines, where he learned his jumps and spins while trying to avoid parents and their kids skating by on family outings. This was the Iceberg Skating Palace and this was the Olympics, where the teenager was desperate for the skate of his young life. Suddenly, the math was starting to look good. Martinez had made it in. “I feel like a real champion,” he said. For one night at the Olympics, that’s exactly what the kid from the mall was.

ALSO: Pinoy skater impresses, barges into medal round at Sochi

The Philippines’ sole bet in the 2014 Winter Olympics put the country on the figure skating map after making it to the medal round of the men’s figure skating event late Thursday. Michael Christian Martinez, 17, made the most of the unique opportunity as he scored 64.81 in the qualifying round, which is enough for a ticket to the round of 24. The meek-looking Martinez wowed the crowd as he stepped on the ice and performed to Arthur Fiedler’s "Romeo and Juliet" at the Iceberg Skating Palace. The routine took a total of two minutes and 50 seconds. He performed fifth in a pool of 30 skaters in the qualifier, drawing applause from the crowd afterwards. Martinez, who will go down as the first Filipino and Southeast Asian skater to see action at the Winter Olympic, now seeks to sustain the momentum in the medal round scheduled at around 11pm Friday.

ALSO: Michael Martinez: 8 Things to Know About the Only Filipino Sochi 2014 Olympian....FULL REPORT BELOW


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Filipino skater Michael Martinez makes it from mall to Olympics


Michael Christian Martinez of the Philippines reacts after competing in the men’s short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. AP

SOCHI, RUSSIA, FEBRUARY 17, 2014 (INQUIRER) Associated Press - Michael Christian Martinez nailed the bow at the end. Four bows, to be exact, though no one could blame him. He didn’t seem to want to leave the ice Thursday night, and no one was going to blame him for that, either.

This wasn’t the shopping mall in the Philippines, where he learned his jumps and spins while trying to avoid parents and their kids skating by on family outings. This was the Iceberg Skating Palace and this was the Olympics, where the teenager was desperate for the skate of his young life.


Michael Christian Martinez holds up a jacket with ‘Philippines’ on the back shortly after he made his Olympic debut Thursday in Sochi, Russia. AP

He had less than three minutes to prove himself in the short program and make it to the men’s free skate final.

If he didn’t, he might have to be thinking about the next step, perhaps working for his family raising vegetables to sell to Japan.

Only Filipino in Sochi

The expenses had become too much. The mall had contributed some money, but in the aftermath of Typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan) there wasn’t much the government could do for a figure skater, the nation’s only competitor in Sochi.

The family home had already been mortgaged to pay for his skating. There was no more to give.

“We’re hoping he makes it and some companies support him,” his mother, Maria Teresa Martinez, said.

“Otherwise he will just have to stop. We cannot afford it anymore. It’s just so expensive and we can’t do another four years.”

In a sequined and braided black and white outfit donated by a designer in New York who saw his Facebook plea for proper Olympic attire, Martinez took the biggest stage of his life, skating just two spots before the great Evgeni Plushenko was supposed to go in front of a capacity crowd at the Olympic arena.

Youngest skater


Michael Christian Martinez at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics Thursday. AP

He acknowledged the polite applause, gliding to the center of the ice. He paused, struck a pose, and then began the most important skate of his career.

“I was so nervous,” he said. “This was such a big event.”

He had reason to be. At 17, he is the youngest skater in the program and the only Filipino figure skater ever in the Olympics.

Still, Martinez was sure he would prevail. The gangly kid with the mop of black hair had to, because this has been his life ever since he walked by the rink in the Manila mall at the age of 9, saw the skaters, and declared to his mother that this was something he wanted to do.

He fell on his behind that day, but that didn’t stop him from coming back the next. Neither did the asthma that put him in the hospital many times and kept him from playing sports outdoors.

“I will make the free skate,” he declared after practice the night before. “Because I am prepared.”

Preparation, though, only counts so much. So on his Facebook page, Martinez asked his friends to “Please pray for me.”

Olympic debut
He began his skate by hitting a nice triple axel, drawing applause from the crowd. But on his second jump he didn’t finish the rotation on a triple lutz and triple toe loop, lowering his marks from the judges.

But his spins were good, the rest of the program nicely skated. Most importantly, he didn’t look like a 17-year-old making his Olympic debut.

In 2 minutes and 39 seconds, Martinez showed he belonged. And now all there was to do was to wait.

“I’m very happy and proud,” he said. “I missed just one jump but the rest of the program was good.”

In the kiss-and-cry area, Martinez waved his jacket with “Philippines” on the back to the crowd, drawing cheers.

He sat with the Russian coach his mother — who learned skating along with her son so she could save money by coaching him herself — had hired for him, flashing a thumbs-up sign as his score was posted.

It was 64.81, his best ever. But Martinez would have to wait again to find out whether it would be good enough to be one of the top 24 skaters who make it to the free skate.

“I think so, maybe half and half,” he said. “I’m a little confident, but then I’m not.”

Nearby, though, some of the other early skaters were struggling. Some fell trying jumps, others made mistakes that lowered their scores.

Plushenko himself fell on a triple axel in warm-ups, hurting his back and ending his bid to add another medal on home ice to the four he already won.

Suddenly, the math was starting to look good. Martinez had made it in.

“I feel like a real champion,” he said.

For one night at the Olympics, that’s exactly what the kid from the mall was.

FROM PHILSTAR

Martinez on Sochi performance: 'I missed one jump' By Tim Dahlberg (Associated Press) | Updated February 14, 2014 - 3:42pm 62 2476 googleplus0 0


Michael Christian Martinez of the Philippines competes in the men's short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. AP/Ivan Sekretarev

SOCHI, Russia — Michael Martinez nailed the bow at the end.

Four bows, to be exact, though no one could blame him. He didn't seem to want to leave the ice Thursday night, and no one was going to blame him for that, either.

This wasn't the shopping mall in the Philippines, where he learned his jumps and spins while trying to avoid parents and their kids skating by on family outings. This was the Iceberg Skating Palace and this was the Olympics, where the teenager was desperate for the skate of his young life.

He had less than three minutes to prove himself in the short program and make it to the men's free skate final.

If he didn't, he might have to be thinking about the next step, perhaps working for his family raising vegetables to sell to Japan.

The expenses had become too much. The mall had contributed some money, but in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan there wasn't much the government could do for a figure skater, the nation's only competitor in Sochi.

The family home had already been mortgaged to pay for his skating. There was no more to give.

"We're hoping he makes it and some companies support him," his mother, Maria Teresa Martinez, said. "Otherwise he will just have to stop. We cannot afford it anymore. It's just so expensive and we can't do another four years."

In a sequined and braided black and white outfit donated by a designer in New York who saw his Facebook plea for proper Olympic attire, Martinez took the biggest stage of his life, skating just two spots before the great Evgeni Plushenko was supposed to go in front of a capacity crowd at the Olympic arena.

He acknowledged the polite applause, gliding to the center of the ice. He paused, struck a pose, and then began the most important skate of his career.

"I was so nervous," he said. "This was such a big event."

He had reason to be. At 17, he is the youngest skater in the program and the only Filipino figure skater ever in the Olympics.

Still, Martinez was sure he would prevail. The gangly kid with the mop of black hair had to, because this has been his life ever since he walked by the rink in the Manila mall at the age of 9, saw the skaters, and declared to his mother that this was something he wanted to do.

He fell on his behind that day, but that didn't stop him from coming back the next. Neither did the asthma that put him in the hospital many times and kept him from playing sports outdoors.

"I WILL make the free skate," he declared after practice the night before. "Because I am prepared."

Preparation, though, only counts so much. So on his Facebook page, Martinez asked his friends to "Please pray for me."

He began his skate by hitting a nice triple axel, drawing applause from the crowd. But on his second jump he didn't finish the rotation on a triple lutz and triple toe loop, lowering his marks from the judges.

But his spins were good, the rest of the program nicely skated. Most importantly, he didn't look like a 17-year-old making his Olympic debut.

In 2 minutes and 39 seconds, Martinez showed he belonged. And now all there was to do was to wait.

"I'm very happy and proud," he said. "I missed just one jump but the rest of the program was good."

In the kiss-and-cry area, Martinez waved his jacket with "Philippines" on the back to the crowd, drawing cheers. He sat with the Russian coach his mother — who learned skating along with her son so she could save money by coaching him herself — had hired for him, flashing a thumbs-up sign as his score was posted.

It was 64.81, his best ever. But Martinez would have to wait again to find out whether it would be good enough to be one of the top 24 skaters who make it to the free skate.

"I think so, maybe half and half," he said. "I'm a little confident, but then I'm not."

Nearby, though, some of the other early skaters were struggling. Some fell trying jumps, others made mistakes that lowered their scores.

Plushenko himself fell on a triple axel in warm-ups, hurting his back and ending his bid to add another medal on home ice to the four he already won.

Suddenly, the math was starting to look good. It wasn't official yet, but Martinez had made it in.

"I feel like a real champion," he said.

For one night at the Olympics, that's exactly what the kid from the mall was.

Pinoy skater impresses, barges into medal round at Sochi (philstar.com) | Updated February 14, 2014 - 1:16am 82 1984 googleplus0 0


Michael Christian Martinez of the Philippines competes in the men's short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ sole bet in the 2014 Winter Olympics put the country on the figure skating map after making it to the medal round of the men’s figure skating event late Thursday.

Michael Christian Martinez, 17, made the most of the unique opportunity as he scored 64.81 in the qualifying round, which is enough for a ticket to the round of 24.

IN PHOTOS: Martinez shines at Sochi Winter Olympics

The meek-looking Martinez wowed the crowd as he stepped on the ice and performed to Arthur Fiedler’s "Romeo and Juliet" at the Iceberg Skating Palace. The routine took a total of two minutes and 50 seconds.

He performed fifth in a pool of 30 skaters in the qualifier, drawing applause from the crowd afterwards.

Martinez, who will go down as the first Filipino and Southeast Asian skater to see action at the Winter Olympic, now seeks to sustain the momentum in the medal round scheduled at around 11pm Friday.

Ranked fifth in the world in the juniors division, Martinez netted a ticket to Sochi when he placed seventh in the Neblehorn Trophy Tournament in Germany last September. However, given the sport’s high-maintenance, he has been hounded by funding problems.

His mother Teresa Martinez said financial assistance from the Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Skating Union, and SM was already used up both in training and in a five-competition sojourn that included the Olympic-qualifying tourney. – With report from Olmin Leyba

FROM YAHOO ASIA NEWS PHILIPPINES

Michael Martinez: 8 Things to Know About the Only Filipino Sochi 2014 Olympian 8listBy 8List | 8list – Mon, Feb 10, 2014 Email


Michael Martinez is the only Filipino athlete representing the country at the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. He will participate in the Men’s Figure Skating Competition scheduled this February 14 (Feb. 13 Thursday night, Philippine time).

8List update (as of Feb. 14, 2014): Michael received a score of 64.81 in the short program and has advanced to the free program after finishing 19th among the top 24 who qualified.

This isn’t the first time the Philippines has participated in the Winter Olympics. We’ve had a couple of alpine skiers back in Sapporo 1972, a lugist in Calgary 1988, while another alpine skier made an appearance at Albertville 1992.

Here’s a video of him at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championship 2013: On the road to the Olympics 2014

 
Published on Nov 4, 2013 Skating to Lucia Micarelli-Nocturne/Bohemian Rhapsody, Four Continents Figure Skating Championship 2013. Michael is the First Filipino Figure Skater who secured a spot in the 2014 Winter Olympics representing Philippines to be held in Sochi, Russia www.sochi2014.com Let's support Michael by SHARING and Thumbs UP on his performance. Thank you!
FB: www.facebook.com/MichaelChristianMartine­zOfficialFanPage Twitter: @MichaelOlympian
Source: EuroSport No Copyright Infringement intended. We do not own this video.

8. He’s the First Southeast Asian to Participate in Figure Skating on the Olympic Level

Michael Martinez: In fact, the only other country in Southeast Asia who has participated in the Winter Olympic Games is Thailand, in Alpine Skiing and Cross-Country Skiing.

7. You Can Follow Him on Facebook and Twitter

Check out:
Facebook: facebook.com/MichaelChristianMartinezOfficialFanPage
Twitter: @MichaelOlympian

As part of the Winter Games, Martinez has his own profile page.

6. The Paranaque Native is 17 Years Old and 5’8″ Michael Martinez 6 Again, according to his Sochi 2014 profile page.

5. He Learned Skating in an SM Mall Ice Skating Rink Michael Martinez

Check out this video from 3 years ago:

 
ASTIG EP113 MICHAEL MARTINEZ (PART3)
Uploaded on Dec 26, 2010 WORLD CLASS FIGURE SKATER MICHAEL MARTINEZ Category Sports License Standard YouTube License

4. He’s Suffered Quite a Lot of Injuries.

And it has a lot to do with the quality of the ice rinks he’s been skating on.

He’s torn ligaments in his ankle and knee, suffered a from a broken ankle, and even suffered a big cut on his thigh caused by another skater’s blade.

3. He Can’t Always Afford a Coach.

Despite help from groups and businesses, Martinez’s mother says he needs more help for a 2018 Winter Olympics appearance to become possible.

You can reach her at maria1962_teresa@yahoo.com.ph.

2. He Has an Ate and Kuya Who Support Him as Well

As revealed on the Michael Martinez Facebook page:


My deepest thanks to my Kuya Paul and Ate Angel for all their love, support and sacrifices . Ate Angel works so hard to maintain her college scholarship because all money is spent on me. Thanks Kuya Paul for working long hours so I could continue skating. Thank you for everything you have done for me. I love you both !

1. He’s the First Figure Skater to Bear a Nation’s Colors at the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics

Here is a video of him carrying the Philippine flag at Sochi.

Here are the fashion wins and fails at the Olympic Winter Games opening ceremony.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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